In Which Relationships Are Hard Work

We live in a world where we obsess over relationships, always talking about our date last night, or does he like me? Do you think she’ll like this shirt?

Yet, we don’t talk about relationships. Not really. We talk about being in relationships or having relationships, but not so much the nature of a relationship or the qualities of one.

Isn’t this a bit backwards? If relationships define our lives, why don’t we talk about them?

Because they’re hard. They’re complicated and difficult and no one fix all solution exists for all relationships. Sure, there’s friend, lover, familial, enemy, acquaintance, but what about the people that don’t quite fit into any of these categories? What about someone who is more than a friend, but not a lover? And what if we no longer love someone a particular way? How does that affect the relationship?

I can tell you from my experience that relationships are not static. There is no happily ever after, not in the way media conveys it. It doesn’t end once you are married. Quite the opposite: your entire life changed.

My life, and I’m sure the lives of everyone else, are fundamentally made of relationships. I live with my best friend, my eternal companion and my love. If our relationship were to turn sour, or if we decided we didn’t want to be together anymore, our entire lives would change. Our place of living, our line of work, our outlook on life.

And yet, for the most part, we don’t talk about these things. We avoid them because they’re complicated, messy and hard. They take work and sometimes words don’t describe how we relate to someone. The word “love” is almost meaningless, as it doesn’t come close to how I feel about my closest companion. And love changes so much depending on the context in which it’s used. Even I feel as though maybe I’m not making sense.

I want to change this. I want to talk about relationships and what they mean for us and to us. My life is made better by other people. None of us are meant to go at this alone. So why do we alienate these parts of our lives that define us?

I am better for those I can call friends. They open my mind and help me see other viewpoints. They support me and give me a reason to keep going, to believe there is good in the world. I am even better for those that have hurt me, those I no longer consider friends. They have taught me things about myself that I would never have discovered on my own.

And what about those people we only know through hearsay or through their work? I love reading. I feel that I have connected with the world and sometimes the person who created it. Yet I’ve never met them. What about those relationships? Are they any less valid than those people we speak with on a day to day level.

I want to make it clear that no two relationships are the same, as no two people are the same. Something that makes one person happy and joyful might crush another person. And that is the intrinsic difficulty with relationships, we have to find out on our own how to make them work. We have to discover how to connect with others in a way that enriches us, but also helps them become better.

In the end, what we gain from being with others makes our lives worth living. Please join me in opening up the discussion about relationships and their importance in our world. Maybe we can teach each other something that will change our lives for the better.

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